Good morning, blessings! As 2017 wrapped up and we start 2018, I was inspired to write down 10 things that I have learned about entrepreneurship this past year which was full of teachings that have nurtured both my personal life and the professional side as well. As a young family man I want other young people who are starting out their professional life as well as their personal to dare to work hard on the things they care about from now on, to turn their dreams into reality because I know that young people are an important component in society, whether in the social, economic, or political. We belong to the relief generation and we must be prepared.
You may be young and that’s ok, don’t get hung up on your age, focus on adding experiences to your development and don’t get too sold on the whole entrepreneurship = sacrifice pitch you hear and read about everywhere. There is a balance, but you can only find it if you put your ego and financial goals aside — focus on helping others, learning through experiences and always keeping your chin up no matter how many ideas you have and how many times you fail.
“The only way to have a good idea is to have many ideas” — Diana Valle
First let me also make clear that these experiences I dealt with while also being a father of 2 young boys, a husband, and active community driven — so the frustrations, learning curves, and sacrifices are more relatable to those with my same situation — wanting to do something great while also working with a spouse and trying to not sacrifice any family time:
- It’s essential to draw a timeline that becomes your guide to carry out your endeavor step by step. This allows you to visualize the duration of anything you take on and the number of steps you must cover. If you are faithful to your timeline, in a blink of an eye your idea will already be a reality.
- Before you take on a business venture with your spouse make sure that both parties are transparent and put all their cards on the table. Sometimes, especially in loving relationships, someone or both may alter what they say, omit concerns, or simply agree with your passion only to see you happy. If this happens, you are paving yourself a rocky road full of stress, arguments, unclear goal paths and inability to grow due to the lack of interest it builds up as things get tougher.
- Entrepreneurship gives a feeling of throwing oneself into the void. Yes, there are those who consider that undertaking is jumping into the void. This becomes an act of faith where, although you believe in your possibilities, you are not exempt from experiencing a feeling of vertigo and you want to return to your comfort zone. As a dad, this is very true! I cannot tell you how many times I needed a friend or a night out but my only escape was little meditation I had to bounce ideas off myself. You know, with kids that almost impossible. lol. We jump into the void with no bottom in sight and its a lonely troubled fall. Courage, as Diana (my wife) founder and CEO of Honest Maids, would have put it she says that: “Vertigo is not fear of falling … but desire to fly” . Feeling fear is normal, feeling overwhelmed is also normal but feeling doomed like you have no choice but to quit is an option, a reality based on your current perspective. When this happens try to take some time off things, no matter the consequences, and regroup yourself. Working harder through your downer moments will only make you lose sight of what’s important.
- Your idea will require sacrifices right from the beginning to the end. Do not believe that if your idea is already a reality, and that you can rest; on the contrary, it is at that moment when sacrifices truly begin. The difference between successful ventures and ‘failures’ is that the founders quit. But why do they often quit? Well, simply put, from my experience people quit it all because they have no more resources, are way past their burn rate because they failed to plan ahead, save money and live frugally. Investors won’t pitch in if you aren’t responsible with your own finances so that leaves you empty handed with a lot of pressure and responsibilities.
- You must be involved in all areas of your business. Even if you are not an accountant you must learn about accounting. When my wife and I started our third ‘side’ business, Honest Maids, we wanted to re-invent the house cleaning industry without taking the ‘tech’ ‘startup’ approach — simply making a small traditional business who did better and knew better. Diana and I had to learn accounting first hand, I mean we learned it while in business school (Grand Canyon University) but we never really ‘learned it’ you know… If you are not a marketer by trade, well guess what? You are a marketer by choice now. Embrace it, do what it takes to be better, run a better business and compete frugally. Attend events and buy books that enrich your preparation; however, you should consider that this process deserves a certain time, therefore, you must have perseverance and patience to learn and apply what you have learned to your specific situation.
- Do not underestimate yourself, but also play smart. Start little by little; the time always comes when you have to dare and think big. Look beyond your limits and the limits of those around you. Here it is important to build a good relationship with your customers. They will help you validate your products. This will lead to making adjustments in those products and services that you offer and to create a profile of what your future clients will be.
- Many people will give you advice, often disguised poisonous darts. So ask if you need to, but when advice is voluntary don’t take it. Ever. In our experiences and from talking to other entrepreneurs this often leads to loss of focus, clarity, and messes with your head as to whether you are good enough if someone else has obviously better solutions and aren’t even in your business. For your partnership with your husband or wife, learn your strengths, don’t ask the other for what is not their strength and don’t ask for strength from someone who has less strength than you do, let them keep that for themselves.
- Get yourself 3 people whom you trust for the truth, favors, and little sacrifices of support for you and your business. Think of them as “Godparents” for your business. When you are down, need help, babysitter, or perspective — they should be able to be there for you so that you can be there for your business. This will remove a big strain in the day to day. I promise! Despite having your three trusted people, sometimes brilliant ideas come from other people which can work in your endeavor. Listen carefully! Be prudent and apply the adjustments that are necessary.
- Give a space to the power of intuition. Intuition makes us much more creative because it lets us be free in our decisions. In any endeavor, it is necessary to develop this sixth sense because there will be many opportunities that depend on it to make the decisions that could lead us to success.
- Once you start, you will not be able to stop. Start and stay in the business deserves innovative activities, enthusiasm and determination to succeed despite certain difficulties that may arise; for this reason it is very important to find moments of silence where you can rest your mind, recharge your energy and move on.
- When you decide to do an endeavor, remember that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, you must deepen this premise and mentally prepare yourself. Enjoy the trip and face what you have to face. Everything has a solution!
Tomorrows add up, and if you don’t act on anything today you probably won’t tomorrow. Next thing you know it’s been a year, then 20, and then maybe it will be too late. Don’t buy into the motivational crap everyone is selling you about entrepreneurship. When we started Honest Maids in Arizona, we imagined owning multiple locations but we never expected for people to love our services, our team, and our story as much as they have now. We are truly blessed, but we still deal with issues on a day to day and little mistakes gets us bad reviews, lost clients, and headaches.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, please feel free to share your comments with me. I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts.